It was a non-answer that spoke volumes.
In the Joe Biden presidency, even the most minor White House functionary can expect an appearance on a liberal network like MSNBC to be full of softball talking points that are basically meant to support the superiority of the liberal worldview over conservative realities.
So when White House coronavirus adviser Andy Slavitt got hit with an actual question about the real-life consequences of different approaches to controlling COVID-19, he really had no alternative: He choked.
The WH’s Covid adviser, @aslavitt46, is asked why Calif., still in lockdown mode, has numbers that aren’t better than a free state, Florida.
Slavitt: “There’s so much of this virus … that’s just a little beyond our explanation” pic.twitter.com/zZFBugW97r
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) February 17, 2021
According to Mediaite, the exchange between Slavitt and MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle (as liberal as any talking head on cable TV) took place immediately after a news report about declining coronavirus-related hospitalization rates in Florida and California.
“Contrast states like Florida and California, California basically in lockdown, and their numbers aren’t that different from Florida,” Ruhle said.
The most noteworthy thing about Slavitt’s answer was how it illuminated how ignorant even top officials are when it comes to setting policies that affect the day-to-day lives of millions of Americans.
“Look, there’s so much of this virus that we think we understand, that we think we can predict, it’s just a little beyond our explanation,” he said.
“What we do know is the more careful people are, the more they mask and social distance, the quicker we vaccinate, the quicker it goes away and the less it spreads. But we have got to get better visibility into variants and what role they play, large events, etc. But as we learned, this is a virus that continues to surprise us.
“It’s very hard to predict.”
In short: “We don’t know.”
That’s not much comfort to the Americans whose lives have been disrupted by overweening government fiats. The millions unemployed because of coronavirus lockdowns. The religious congregations targeted for restrictions, especially in California.
And it didn’t go down well on social media.
Questions on Florida should be part of every COVID briefing. Why are they succeeding while open while closed states are not? If you don’t know, why not have closed states copy their model until you figure it out? https://t.co/1jYLeO6f7V
— Karol Markowicz (@karol) February 17, 2021
“Well, we do know that the more we wear masks and social distance and vaccinate, the quicker it goes away”
We do NOT know that. That is the point. The state with the harshest lockdowns and the state without LDs have the same results, what does that say about the intervention?
— Kyle Barker (@kyle_barker) February 17, 2021
His answer to why masks and lockdown isn’t working any better than no masks or lockdowns is an assertion that masks and lockdowns work (of course), and we need to understand why they aren’t working (for us).
— Keith Payne (@PayneIsReal) February 17, 2021
Florida, under Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, has pretty much set the standard for how a rational state governed by adults behaves in the face of a crisis.
Common-sense measures are advised, but citizens are left largely free to make their own decisions about how to stay safe:
Schools have been open since August, as The Associated Press via WKMG-TV reported. Restaurants are open. Beaches are open. Sensible people practice social distancing, wear masks when appropriate and take other measures to protect themselves and others from infection.
California, governed by the endangered Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, has taken the paternalistic approach of shutting down its residents’ activities (unless they involve birthday dinners at swanky restaurants.)
By liberal logic, Florida should be a dystopian nightmare of disease and death, while Californians remain safe and secure thanks to the protective care of their nanny state.
As usual, reality and liberal logic don’t coincide. According to The COVID Tracking Project, the two states have infection rates that are roughly equal, considering California’s population is about twice the size of Florida’s. (The tracking project’s website contains an interactive map where users can click on individual states to get pertinent COVID-19 statistics.)
The Sunshine State does have a higher death rate, but that could be explained by the size of its elderly population. One thing that is certain about COVID-19 is that it’s brutal on the elderly. (Just ask New Yorkers suffering through the administration of Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo.)
Yet liberals mock red-state leaders like DeSantis and South Dakota’s Kristi Noem for trying to keep the lives — and economies — of their populations thriving.
On Wednesday, it was liberals like Slavitt who were getting the mockery:
Wheels coming off Team Biden’s pro-lockdown narrative. https://t.co/3NMYOuaKZc
— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) February 17, 2021
Dear lord. “There’s so much that is beyond our explanation!”
So the obvious answer is to destroy the lives of children, our mental health, the economy, and the lives of hundreds of millions across the globe who rely on the US economy – and hope for the best! https://t.co/BiuXD0BydJ
— NYC Angry Mom – #OpenSchools (@angrybklynmom) February 17, 2021
But this one put it best:
“Well, you see…the data doesn’t fit with my preconceived positions, so…we need more data!” https://t.co/qePPZKj998
— Pradheep J. Shanker (@Neoavatara) February 17, 2021
From the beginning, liberals in political office and the establishment media have used the coronavirus as a political weapon — primarily to attack the Donald Trump presidency, but also to promote greater government control over individual lives.
They did it by promoting fear of how COVID-19 spreads and the idea that anyone who disagrees with them is a danger to the Republic, a narrative that’s only getting more traction in the Biden White House.
The contrasting numbers from California and Florida tell a different story. When Slavitt was asked about that, he could hardly give an answer.
But it was a non-answer that said it all.
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